Those who truly love Christ must have come to Him with an understanding that He is the only hope of salvation. Indeed, He says of Himself in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” Jesus is an inclusive exclusivist. In other words, His love is boundless in that He desires all people to repent and come to know Him (2 Peter 3:9). He offers the way to the Father through Himself to all regardless of religion, gender, age, rank, nationality, etc. His desire for salvation to come to all people is one of total inclusivism, absolute non-discrimination, and an utter lack of partiality. He opens the door for all who would receive His Son Jesus Christ. Yet God is also an exclusivist. That is, He offers an exclusive means to salvation through His Son Jesus Christ. He does not allow for any who deny that Jesus is God and the only means for salvation to enter His heaven. He is very specific about what it takes to enter heaven, and central to saving faith is believing that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, with emphasis on the singular “the.”
The world, on the other hand, offers many ways to worship. In fact, individual faith is quickly becoming a religious smorgasbord, as people pick and choose parts of religions and mix them with other religions as if they are interchangeable parts. This is syncretism, a blending of various religions into a perverted whole. It is a man-centered way of belief as people choose the parts that they like or that are convenient for their sinful lifestyles while casting aside the rest. Jesus hates when we mix truth with lies, so syncretism is not acceptable to Him.
Neither is pluralism. Pluralism teaches that a variety of viewpoints can all be truth, even if they contradict one another. Pluralism teaches that truth is not absolute but relative. This belief results in teaching that says that Jesus is one way to the truth but not the only way to the truth. It allows for some people to believe Jesus is a way to God so long as they allow for other people to believe that their way to God is also true. The problem is that religions contradict one another, with only true Christianity affirming the deity of Christ and salvation by grace through faith through His work on the cross alone. Pluralism creates a totally illogical dynamic of belief by allowing contradictory truths to be accepted as truth. It is like saying that green and red can both be red at the same time and in the same sense even though only red is truly red. Pluralism says that green must be allowed to be red also, as well as yellow, blue, orange, etc. This form of belief is of the devil’s making because it denies Jesus’ own words when He said that He is the only truth.
It is becoming rarer and rarer to find those who believe the whole counsel of God. We live in a day and age where professing Christians are more likely to deny the exclusivity of Jesus Christ than to believe in it. Too few Christians are willing to take a stand and say that other world religions are in error and in danger of hell fire if they do not repent and turn to Christ as Savior and Lord. It is a highly unpopular thing to do to take a stand for Jesus Christ, but Jesus wasn’t popular either. Pilate said “what is truth?” as if ignoring the very idea, blaspheming Christ in the process (John ). Though we have newer terms for this blasphemy, the same lie that the devil has been propagating persists still. It has just been dressed up in more modern sounding terms such as “pluralism” or “tolerance.” As Christians we must be willing to hold to the truth that Jesus is the only truth. In fact, He is the very definition and embodiment of truth. This is a very radical position to take, but it is true.
The time has come and will continue to come when “Christian” leaders seek common ground with those who do not share Christian ideals. They will (and have already) joined hands with those who kill babies and redefine marriage. They will glorify social progress (education, eradication of disease and hunger, etc.) over saving faith through Jesus alone. Of course, we should do what we can to educate, to feed empty stomachs, and to curtail disease, but what good is an educated, fed, and healthy world that will die in hell. We must not forget the higher importance of the spiritual, eternal reality. The gospel of Jesus Christ must not be compromised but rather remain the preeminent reality that it is. As Colossians says, “That in all things [Christ] might have the preeminence.”
Christians must defend the truth and stand upon it (Jude 3). The true church is the pillar and support of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15), but as soon as it denies Jesus as the only way or begins calling Him a liar (i.e. He really did intend a man to marry a man) or a lunatic (i.e. He just didn’t know all that we know today), the church is no longer the church.
Any movement away from an exclusive way of salvation is of the antichrist. Any catering to sin, whether homosexuality, abortion, or any other, is of the antichrist. When we forget to mention hell, sin, and repentance, we pave the way for the antichrist. May the church not prepare the way of the antichrist but rather preach the gospel and get ready for Christ’s return in glory. We have a beautiful message to carry (Romans 10:15), one of great love and inclusivism through Jesus, so let us not bow to pluralism and fail to stand for the truth (1 Corinthians 16:13, 2 Thessalonians 2:15, 1 Peter 5:12).
Thousands listened to Jesus’ teaching, but only a few followed Him through the cross and beyond. Most said His teaching was too difficult. Most today would say it is too exclusive. Are we willing to be part of the ridiculed few?